Former APSSB secy Jain suspended, govt forms enquiry committee

Candidates to go ahead with proposed protest rally

[ Nellie N Manpoong ]

ITANAGAR, Mar 3: Former Arunachal Pradesh Staff Selection Board (APSSB) secretary and controller of examinations, SK Jain has been placed under suspension by the governor of Arunachal Pradesh on 3 March following the alleged malpractice in the common examination for lower divisional clerk (LDC), junior secretariat assistant (JSA) and other posts, held on 2 February.
During his suspension period, Jain, who also holds the post of secretary of the Urban Development and Land Management Department, shall not leave the Itanagar headquarters without obtaining the permission of the chief secretary.
Meanwhile, a high-level inquiry committee, comprising of Principal Resident Commissioner Jitendra Narain and Home, Political, Border Affairs, PWD Commissioner Kaling Tayeng, has been constituted by the government to inquire into the alleged malpractices in the LDC/ JSA examination conducted by the board on 2 February, 2020.
The committee has to submit its report at the earliest, but not later than 21 days from the date of issuance of the order of its constitution (3 March, 2020).
The inquiry committee will examine and find out whether procedures and safeguards were put in place to ensure transparent functioning of the APSSB in consonance with the act and rules and for conduct of free and fair examination by the APSSB. It will also examine and find out whether proper supervision and due diligence was followed to ensure that the APSSB conducted examination in a fair manner in the recently held LDC/ JSA examinations.
The committee will also have to find out as to what steps have been taken by the APSSB to preserve evidence and present facts accurately, especially after the malpractices were alleged on social media soon after declaration of results.
It will also examine and fix the responsibilities for administrative lapses by all the officers involved in the examination process and recommend suitable disciplinary action against the erring officers and officials.

Khandu expresses disappointment

Responding to reporters after the assembly session here on Tuesday, Chief Minister Pema Khandu expressed disappointment on the transgressions that took place in the “pet project of the government, created for the youngsters of Arunachal Pradesh and a transparent Arunachal.”
“It is very disappointing that there have been alleged transgressions in the board. I have already said that I would not tolerate such activities during my tenure,” he said and informed that “administrative action will be initiated within seven days of the completion of the 21-day period given to the enquiry committee to submit its report.”
On the status of other officers that served in the APSSB, he said that administrative action will be taken as per the enquiry committee’s report.
Regarding suspicion of malpractice in previous examinations, Khandu said that “such a possibility could not be ruled out,” but went on to add that: “as per reports received, there is no hint of malpractice in previous exams.”

Candidates appreciate prompt action

In the meantime, candidate Tadar Kaming appreciated the prompt and bold step initiated by the Khandu-led government, but at the same time reiterated the demand for suspension of the other top officers as well.
“We appreciate the bold stand of the CM, but at the same time, it would have been better if former APSSB chairman AC Verma, member GS Meena and joint secretary Tamune Miso were also suspended with immediate effect because they are collectively responsible for everything that happened within the board. They should also be put under suspension for impartial inquiry,” he said.
Another candidate, Toko Takar also informed this daily that the interim committee of the candidates would meet on Wednesday to hold discussions on further course of action.
At present, the candidates maintain their stance of going ahead with the protest rally from DNGC ground to Raj Bhawan on 6 March.
The Rajiv Gandhi University Students’ Union and representatives of various college students’ unions affiliated with the RGU under the Capital Complex region – in a joint meeting on Tuesday – decided to extend unconditional support to the APSSB Aspirants Interim Committee for Justice and Reformation for the proposed peaceful protest rally on Friday.